SITE REVIEW: JCA

  • SB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I have been asked as part of my job to work on the companies websites. My first task is transforming the current website and working on the new(er) look website which was started and left untouched for about 2 years. I am not a huge fan of the new look as its almost impossible to navagate through the site and its often quite hard to remember how to get to certain areas of the site.

I was wondering if people could give me advice on what i could do to improve the navagation without completely rebuilding the current site.

here is a link: http://www.campbell-james.co.uk/JCA_NEW/index.htm

If you are interested, you can see the current site when you take the /JCA_NEW/index.htm away from the domain adress above.

Thanks in advance!
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Post 3+ Months Ago

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Post 3+ Months Ago

For the record, to start off touring the site you need to click on "Welcome". That is something i need to make sure people know when they visit this site, so perhaps i should maybe leave a note at the bottom saying so.
  • katana
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I quite like some of the features in the new design. Perhaps you shouldn't scrap it entirely. First off, I like the way the content is presented in between the two green bars, but I think some kind of banner / logo on top would make it look a lot better and a lot less sparse.
I can see what you mean about the confusing navigation system. Personally, I would place greater emphasis on the main nav bar (the one with Site Map/Enquires/News letter/links on it) and make it stand out as the main navigation tool. The sub nav bar may be better placed in a separate page, i.e. click on a "projects" page, and you're given the options of environmental/conceptual etc. In saying that, I think that if you differentiated the main nav bar from the sub nav bar (so it's obvious which one is the main one) you'd still get away with keeping both on the same page. If you do keep both on the same page, I'd pull the sub-nav bar up below the main nav bar, however I'd keep a horizontal bar beneath the content of the page, just to give it that nice framed look.

Also, I'd look at replacing some of the images that are used to display text in some of the pages (the blue tag-line text on some of the pages). It's a little small and blurred, which makes it hard to read.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thank you Katana.

The thing that bothers me the most is you have to click on some of the images to go to different areas of the website, its almost as if its hidden areas.

I dont intend on demloshing and starting from scratch as i am sure this didnt take two minutes to build.

I was thinking on the links page i could make it so when you click on the logo of the link we have provided at the right hand side some information on the company linked would appear and then the visitor could then choose whether they want to go ahead in progressing to the site.
  • katana
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I agree with the links on the images. Perhaps a better approach would be to have a section underneath the grid of thumbnails that changes when the user puts the mouse over one of the images.
  • SB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Yeah, thats a pretty good idea. Thank you again Katana. Feedback is much appreciated!
  • daremedy
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Your load up time was really really bad. I think it took almost 20 seconds to fully load your site, which is too long. You may want to consider upgrading to a faster server.

In IE I'm getting a javascript error and at the top there's a dead image (images/stripe.gif). Firefox just shows it as an empty square? Not sure whats going on up there. The top of the site seems a little empty. Maybe fool around with putting the James Campbell logo at the top left before the horizontal line and leave the Welcome vertically centered in the same location. The way you have it now is ok, but because of that image that isnt loading, it looks weird. You definitely should add a better signal to let people know to click Welcome to enter. Or better yet, implement an Enter link.

Entering your site, the first thing I noticed is you dont have a Home link. Well you do, but its in the form of the sites name. Definitely integrate a Home button as the first option, not Site Map. And generally speaking, the Site Map link would appear at the footer of a website. Actually, you should reverse the order of your menu's. The top links should all be at the bottom of your site, and the bottom links are the most important links and should be at the top. I also noticed the bottom links have mouseover color effects and the top ones dont. Also, in I.E. there's a thick yellow box below the length of the menu, in FF it doesnt show. I'd definitely remove it, so that it doesnt show up in I.E. either.

As per content, I'm really not liking that iframe effect you're using to display the content. It seems like it cheapens the site. If you can, just pop all the content within a table and let the site's height expand to the changes in content. Even when I'm browsing the Enquiry I.E. I'm getting the horizontal scroll bar for the content, in FF it disappears. There's doesnt seem to be any consistency to the site.

For all the top menu links, the content pages all have the box images on the right, but they're all empty, with the exception of the Links section. Seems like a waste of space. Also for the bottom menu links, you link to some external sites (acert-uk.com etc...), unless they're directly affiliated with you, you should open them up in a new window.

Again with the Architecure and Environment pages, I had NO IDEA that you had to click on that icon to actually see the content. I just realized it now when I hovered over the image by accident, I actually thought your content was the images on the side. You're putting way to much effort on the users side, definitely stay away from making them click things to enter places, it should all be there waiting for them. Like when I click on the architecture link, hit me with it! Dont make me hit another link to get to it.

On a side note, the quotes you have throughout the site, even the font in the footer is really small. Definitely increase that. The color and size are a strain on my eyes. As I'm in the Architecture page, there's some serious stuff going on with your menu, both I.E. and FF. Only a screenshot can explain it. There's white box appearing out of nowhere.

Image

The site just seems to fall apart more and more and I go through it. Links that lead to pages that dont exists, dead images, white boxes out of nowhere. This just doesnt strike me as a well design site overall. There's so much more stuff I want to mention, but not enough time. Even your existing index has some issues, like the one that eeks me the most. You've disabled the body border and I cant scroll down, and alas, everything under "The Studio, Kemnay" on the left is a mystery to me. Maybe when I get a chance I'll continue my rant! Lots of work ahead of you SB.
  • lioness
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Post 3+ Months Ago

What I don't feel is appropriate is the iframe. Especially when you go to the 'Enquiries' form. The visitor will have to scroll down 2-3 times just to fill in the fields on the form, that is, visitors who have frames enabled on their browser. SEO may be hurt too by iframes I think? frames are used on the current site too :(

Back to the The green bar along the bottom has 6 links, 4 of which direct to other pages on your site, but two of these link to external websites :!: Why are they there instead of being on the links page?

There are a few error pages but I'm sure that is down to development.

I think you need something more than the text that hovers over the cursor when you hover over a navigation image. Perhaps have a dynamic text box to the left which on hovering on an image, provides a description of the page to which the image points to.

That pop-up 'thanks for visiting...' appears on page refreshes, get rid of that or if you must keep it, make it work ONLY on exiting the site.

Aside from that, and other comments above most things should be covered.
  • SB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

:lol:

I dont think i can take any more Daremedy! :lol: only joking. The more info the merrier. Just for the record, this is something that was started a couple of years ago by somebody else and not myself, my job is to basically complete it so we can replace the site that is currently there.

Ok, heres where i am supposed to reply to all the comments made (i'll try my best)...

::sighs::

The load up time is something i am really not impressed with myself and one of the first things i thought i would do is go through all of the images and see if i can decrease the size of these images as i noticed some of them are around 158Kb in size. Because this site has so many images on it you can imagine alot of 158kb sized images can make the site generally a bit slower to load up.

The dead square at the top is something that has just dissapeared in the last week for some reason. Basically its just another Green bar just like the bottom which looked pretty good when it was there. Its easily sorted out and again it will be one of the first things i do when i start to work on it later.

As i mentioned previously, i really do not like the fact its poor to navigate and having no "Home" link just kinda mess me about as its something every site should have..

Out of curiosity, does anyone know why FF and IE see differently when opening websites? Normally when i would work on a website you would expect them all to appear on every internet server, this obviously isnt the case.

As Lion king and Daremedy mentioned, there are some external links on the bottom, i dont know why they are there i can only imagine because they are linked to the business's other websites. the acert-uk.com is another website that hasnt been started yet that i have been asked to work on as well. I dont know whether they should be removed or not from the bars along the bottom or if they should maybe go to the links page. I would have thought the latter.

I never realised that box popped up saying thanks for visiting, that has been on the old site for a LONG time and its something i have always cringed when seeing it. Not only does it expose the main email adress (which increases the amount of Spam in that email inbox i'm sure) but it also irritates all the visitors who visit expecting to leave and not have something to remind them of where they have just come from. I really disliked the idea of adding it and i will have no problems removing that.

The random white boxes that appear at the links bar at the bottom is very strange. I dont know why its doing that, although it will be sorted as soon as possible.

Thank you everyone for pointing out all these errors. I will try my best to fix these and i will let you all know when it has been done. Any other comments then i am all ears (or eyes in this case :oops:).
  • SB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

How about you actually look at it?
  • lioness
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The Master wrote:
its ok


Three posts and three reviews by 'The Master'. Three posts of 'its ok'. Website Review criteria fulfilled :roll: Watch this space for a 'Please reivew my site' coming soon in post #4 :lol:
  • 613flavah
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Post 3+ Months Ago

grrr I had a super long review made for you SB but I received a hardware malfuntion and I crashed and lost it all :(

Here is my lame attempt at re-doing it.

On the welcome page, I think that the white boxes with green border should be filled in with green or another colour. Right now it's very confusing to the user, it took me a few seconds to figure out that those squares were empty b/c I thought images were going to load. Plus with the squares filled in it would take away from all the white you have right now.

Also your "welcome" image has a blue mouseover, try sticking to colours that compliment each other and well blue & green don't ;)

Your navbar font is hard to read. Try picking a different one or making it larger.

In your sitemap page, don't centre your text. It makes it look cluttered. Also your images don't load on that page?

Your iframes are really small, try to use up more of the width & height of the browser so there isn't that much white space, I'm viewing on a 24 inch hd monitor and I get tons of white space, I realize not everyone's monitor will be this size but at least with height & width spacing controlled it will look alot better.

I'd set up the Links section a bit better. Right now you've got graphics, it doesn't tell me anything. When you're linking to other companies, you should type out the name of the firm and include a short description of the firm.

Keep it up Craig it's looking good :)
  • SB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

613flavah wrote:
Keep it up Craig it's looking good :)


That will be SB for the rest of you :lol:

First name terms :lol:

Thank you for the review everyone, its very much appreciated. I will try and fix all the problems you have all mentioned and see if i can make it alot better.
  • SB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I was working a bit on the site earlier and created a test page so i could try something new out. This is what i started off with when i added the new images...

Test Page 02

I then went on to take some of the advice by moving the menu options the other way around instead of having the Site Map and Enquiries options at the top, i moved them to the bottom and moved the bottom options to the top...

Test Page 04

The only problem i have with that is, i have yet to add these lines that you will notice are missing above the top option. I wondered what people thought of it without the lines? if there is anything else (apart from the poor quality of the images at the moment) then could people let me know.

I am hoping that when people click on the images it will show up at the left hand side where the text "the power of design to create healthy sustainable and inspiring environments..." is. I must stress that this is just a test page purely for brainstorming amongst people in the business and of course fellow Ozzuers!!
  • lucassix
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The new jpegs load MUCH faster than the pngs, I say stick with that for the images. The lines at the top and the bottom are not a big deal, but I think it does look a bit better with them. It kind of seperates the address bar of the browser from the content of the page instead of them being butted right up against eachother.

Also for the images, perhaps you could use the grayscale mouseover idea from the page and add to it so that there is descriptive text at the bottom of the image when hovered over. This would provide you with a way to access the content of the site without blatent HTML links.
  • SB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thank you Lucassix!

I am going to try and get the lines back there on the new page. I am not so sure about the grayscale though. I will see what happens.

I got shown another page my brother was working on (its a family business, incase you were wondering). So this one i am working on now might not mean anything.

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